There are festivals and events that take place throughout the year in Syros. Some will be wonderful additions to your holidays, while others – like the Syros Carnival and the island’s Easter celebrations – are reasons to visit on their own. The Cultural Program of the Municipality of Syros (Syros Culture Festival) includes events during the summer months and there are Saint’s Days celebrations of both the Orthodox and Catholic churches that are celebrated throughout the year in villages and in Ermoupoli and Ano Syros. Whichever festivals and events you attend in Syros, they promise to be among of the highlights of your stay.
Easter in Syros
Syros is one of the few places in the world where Orthodox and Catholic Easter are celebrated on the same day. Each day of the Holy Week is a special event on Syros. It begins on Monday with the smell of freshly baked Easter bread (tsoureki) and cookies (koulourakia) wafting from the houses and continues throughout the week. On Tuesday, Kassiani hymns are sung at the church of Agios Nikolaos of the Rich in the Vaporia district of Ermoupoli, and the preparations of all the churches are wonderful to see as the week progresses. On Good Friday, there is the procession of the epitaphs of the Orthodox and Catholic churches, some of which culminate simultaneously at the Town Hall in Ermoupoli.
Holy Saturday begins with the service of the First Resurrection at Orthodox churches, accompanied by the rhythmic beating of pews. Fireworks light up the sky at the end of the Second Resurrection service at midnight. As everywhere in Greece, Easter Sunday is a feast of lamb on the spit and eating and drinking with family and friends.
The Syros Carnival is an annual celebration of events in the month before Lent, culminating in a long weekend full of fun and color in Ermoupoli and Ano Syros and in villages around Syros.
The Syriano Idiomata is part of the “Tsiknopempti” celebrations on the Thursday before the start of Lent and involves mock wedding processions heading from settlements to Miaouli Square in Ermoupoli.
On the Saturday, the Zeibekia custom in Ano Syros includes satirical performances by male couples telling the story of the kidnapping of a bride during Ottoman times.
And the centerpiece of the Syros Carnival takes place on Sunday, with fancy dress costumes and carnival floats parading from the port to Miaouli Square in the center of Ermoupoli.
All these Syros Carnival events are accompanied by traditional music and singing and plenty of food.
The following day is Clean Monday (Ash Monday), celebrated throughout Greece as a national holiday and the first official day of Lent. The traditional kite flying on this day is known as the Koulouma tradition in the settlements around Syros. In the village of Galissas, locals and visitors are invited to fly kites on the beach, followed by traditional dancing, singing and lots of delicious local Lenten food.
If you are visiting during the summer months, look out for the Cultural Program of the Municipality of Syros (Syros Culture Festival), which includes events and performances by local and international artists in the cultural venues of Ermoupoli and medieval Ano Syros, as well as in settlements around the island. Theatrical performances, concerts, exhibitions, dance events and musical performances from jazz ensembles to local folk singers light up the summer nights.
Highlight cultural events include:
International Aegean Festival
An annual multidisciplinary event featuring fully staged opera productions, chamber and symphonic music and more. Well known orchestras, conductors, soloists, choirs and performing groups from leading international opera houses and theaters participate in the event.
Akropoditi Dance Fest
An annual international festival of dance and performing arts involving old and new collaborators in familiar and undiscovered venues.
One of the highlights of the Syros Culture festival is Anima Syros, which brings together over 100 animation professionals from more than a dozen countries. Participants are treated to viewings of more than 250 films across a number of competition sections and selected tributes as well as films specially selected for children. There are also workshops for all ages.
Syros International Film Festival
Founded in 2013, the Syros International Film Festival (SIFF) is held in traditional and repurposed sites and is cultural highlight of the summer. It includes screenings of international films, as well as workshops and other events around a simple question: “What is cinema?”
Traditional “Syrianopato” Dance Festival
A multi-day event featuring performances by folk dance groups from all over Greece.
Hermoupolis Guitar Festival
A five-day summer festival of recitals, concerts, seminars, competitions and more by participating guitarists. Known for its high quality and friendly atmosphere, it is considered one of the top guitar festivals in Greece.
Rebetiko Music Festival
The Syros Island Rebetiko Festival celebrates “rebetiko”, the urban folk music popular among working class Greeks from the 19th century and associated with Syros through Markos Vamvakaris, one of the most famous rebetiko musicians and composers, who was born in Ano Syros.
International Classical Music Festival
The most eagerly awaited classical music event in the Aegean has become a mainstay of the summer cultural programme on Syros. As well as bringing together leading musicians and composers from the Greek National Opera, the festival invites world-renowned soloists and ensembles from around the world for concerts and masterclasses that serve a single mission: to promote the art of classical music.
The Pulling of the Pezotrata
Held in August on Agathopes beach to celebrate the fishing tradition of Syros. Children and adults pull a fishing boat (known as a trata) towards the shore and then feast on grilled sardines, ouzo and other delicacies.
A festival named after a traditional fish soup that is held in the village of Finikas in August, with plenty of wine, music and dancing.
Tsipouro Nights (as the name translates) on August, with traditional dancing in Ano Syros.
A much-anticipated festival held in August, full of music and dancing and (of course) featuring one of Syros’ most famous local products… the Loukoumi (or Turkish Delight).
The Wine Festival of Galissas village
Usually held in February, where local wines are awarded and guests are treated to wine tasting and traditional dancing.
A series of sporting events held during the summer in honour of the first President of the Olympic Committee, Dimitrios Vikelas, who was born on Syros.
A fishing competition is held by the Fishing Club of Vari, at Fabrika beach, during the summer months (July or August) for children aged 5-15 years old.
A summer beach volley tournament organised by the Municipality of Syros at Galissas beach.
An annual bicycle race for cycling enthusiasts in Posidonia village in October-November.
- 17/1 St Anthony in Mega Gialos (Orthodox)
- 29/6 St Peter in Kini (Orthodox)
- 30/6 Sacred Heart of Jesus in Galissas (Catholic)
- 12/7 St Benedict in St Michael (Catholic)
- 18/7 Agia Marina in Kini (Catholic)
- 18/7 Virgin Mary of Mount Karmilou in Galissas (Catholic)
- 20/7 Prophet Elijah in the Episkopio (Orthodox)
- 26/7 Agia Paraskevi in Alithini (Orthodox)
- 27/7 Saint Panteleimon in Papouri (Catholic)
- 2/8 Our Lady of Graces in Kini (Catholic)
- 7/8 The Transfiguration in Agros (Catholic)
- 7/8 St Kyriakou (Tsirikou) in Danako (Catholic)
- 9/8 St George in Kampos in Apano Meria (Catholic)
- 11/8 Remembrance of the Miracle Saint Spyridon in Chroussa (Orthodox)
- 15/8 The Assumption in Galissas, Kini, Pagos, Episkopio, Chalandriani (Catholic)
- 17/8 St Mamas in Galissas (Orthodox)
- 23/8 St John Evangelist in Platy Vouni (Catholic)
- 29/8 St John Baptist in Alithini (Orthodox)
- 6/9 Nativity of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary of Candles) in Parakopi (Catholic)
- 8/9 Nativity of the Theotokos in Chroussa and Pagos (Catholic), Virgin Mary Lotiani and Virgin Mary Bouliani in Kini.
- 9/14 Holy Cross in Parakopi, Alithini and Talanta (Catholic)
- 24/9 Panagia Phaneromeni in Chroussa (Catholic)
- 1/10 Saints Kosma & Damianou (Ag Anargyroi) at Apano Meria (Catholic)
- 4/10 Saint Michali in Apano Meria (Catholic)
- 8/10 St. Theresia in Danako (Catholic)
More events in Syros
The feast of St John on June 24th is celebrated in Syros with the custom of lighting a fire and children jumping over the flames. May Day wreaths are also burnt in the flames.
The August Days
The “August Days” in the village of Vari take place on August 15th, the national holiday celebrating the Dormition of the Virgin. In a day full of fun, dancing and singing, old customs and trades are revived and elaborate constructions are made in the sand.
Another August 15th national holiday tradition takes place in the village of Kini, where locals decorate the outside of their houses with fires lit in small tin cans, and the children decorate the beach and the surrounding terraces in the same way. Guests are invited to celebrate with live music, dancing and local delicacies.
Summer Beach Festival
Held in Galissas beach and including activities like football and waters sports. There is also a music stage on the beach where guest DJs set the mood for a night of dancing and fun.